Agricultural frontier and multi-temporality of vegetation cover in moorland of the Cortadera Regional Natural Park (Boyacá, Colombia)
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Moorland is an ecosystem of tropical high mountain regions that plays an important role in water regulation due to its climatic, orographic and biodiversity-oriented environmental conditions. However, these qualities frequently present conflicts regarding soil use due to production activities unrelated to preservation and conservation. This study analyzes the main changes in vegetation cover (periods 1986 - 2000 - 2016) that reflect edges as agricultural frontiers, in the moorland area of the Cortadera Regional Natural Park (municipality of Siachoque, Colombia). Vegetation cover types were identified using the CORINE Land Cover methodology at a scale of 1:100,000, with the satellite image processor Landsat. Representative cover types included High open forest (Baa), dense non- wooded firm ground grassland (HdTf), mosaic of pastures and crops (Mpc), lagoons, lakes and natural swamps (LlCn) and artificial water bodies (Caa). A continuous decrease of the HdTf over time was identified (from 3,604 ha in 1986, to 3,106 ha in 2000 and 2,531 ha in 2016). In contrast, Mpc cover increased by 1,447 ha in 30 years (from 1,231 ha in 1986 to 2,678 ha in 2016). It is concluded that the changes in distribution of vegetation cover types are produced by the expansion of the agricultural frontier, despite the area’s declaration in 2015 as a protected area. These results demonstrate a clear need for this issue to be addressed through participatory action of stakeholders involved in the conservation process, restoration and preservation of the Cortadera moor.